Bottoms Up: Protecting Your Canadian Business from Liquor Liability Risks

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Any type of business is always subject to certain liabilities. If you run a business that is open to the public, for example, you have certain responsibilities to make sure that those customers are presented with a safe environment. If you run a restaurant or other type of establishment that sells liquor, the subject of Canadian business liabilities becomes a bit trickier. There are many different types of liquor liabilities in Canada, but it is important to realize that there are also a number of things that you can do to minimize those risks as much as possible.

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Legal Liabilities

Before you can start minimizing the risks associated with serving liquor in your business, you must first understand exactly what legal liabilities are associated with such an establishment. As a server of alcohol, for example, you are liable if you serve a person past the point where they are considered to be legally intoxicated. As a business owner you are also responsible for making sure that everyone who sets foot in your establishment is protected from harm, including drunk individuals who may be looking for a fight. You are liable in many other ways, as well, including for instances where your staff may be consuming alcohol at events like holiday parties. You are additionally legally liable if you are the sponsor of potentially dangerous activities, like drinking contests.

Insurance

Always use a specialist service like BrokerLink to make sure that you have the appropriate type of insurance for your business. Restaurant insurance isn’t enough if your establishment also serves liquor. You need to take the appropriate steps to make sure that your insurance policy covers a business that serves alcohol and is prepared for all of the potential hazards and liabilities that are associated with that decision.

Risk Management

There are a large number of steps that you can take to help minimize the risks associated with serving liquor in your business as much as possible. You can start limiting alcohol consumption, for example, and take steps to cut off customers if you feel that they are getting “too drunk” or are becoming generally impaired. You can also offer food service, which is a great way to help people sober up if they’ve had too much to drink.

Another factor that you’ll want to consider is educating your bartenders in how to identify when someone has had too much to drink. If a bartender senses that a person shouldn’t be drinking anymore, you need to give them the right to cut off that person and refuse additional service. You can also turn your legal liabilities into something of a promotion. If there are any nearby hotels, for example, see if you can partner with them to provide reduced rates for patrons of your establishment. You can also encourage taxi use and provide the same subsidies for taxi fares. In order to make sure that people are as protected as possible, you can also promote designated driver programs to help make sure that everyone has a safe ride home if necessary.

Leonardo Dawson ran his own small tavern for many years and is now retired. He enjoys helping new business owners by sharing what he has learned over the years.

 

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